The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"A Pretty Shameful Day for Washington"

In the interest of the right to unrestrained access to firearms, and the right to shoot people with anonymity and impunity, the United States Senate filibustered the Manchin-Toomey bispartisan compromise on gun regulation. The law in fact forbade a national registry, of course, but what the hell. Background checks are bad, right? Guns should flow freely across borders, with no limitation.

Because, after all, what's the worst that could happen?

Let me note the Honor Roll of the Republicans who crossed party lines to support the compromise bill:

*Collins (R-Me);
*Kirk (R-Ill);
*McCain (R-Ariz.); and
Toomey (R-Pa).

And the dishonor role, Democrats who crossed party lines to oppose the bill:

Baucus (D-Mont);
Heitkamp (D-ND); and
Pryor (D-Ark.).

Harry Reid voted against on the final tally so that, under the rules of the Senate, he can re-introduce the bill later in the session.

Oh, the assault weapons ban and magazine restrictions failed too, thanks to the bold defenders of the rights to riddle Bambi, varmints or, what teh hey, schoolchildren, with bullets. Because the Second Amendment requires it, right? Just ask noted liberal Antonin Scalia:
nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.” [citations omitted]

It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment ’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.
Moreover, as Justice Scalia's majority opinion explicitly stated, "We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive."

So the Second Amendment can only be preserved by defeating legislation that the Supreme Court majority that overruled 70 years of case law to expand the Second Amendment found did not violate their expanded conception of Second Amendment.

Today was yet another awful example of Mark Twain's dictum that "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."

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